One of my favorite things in the world is to get up early on a Saturday morning and go cupcake shopping.
(I mean, what better way to start a day?) This means heading to Lyndell’s Bakery in Somerville’s Ball Square.
Established in 1887, Lyndell’s is one of the oldest bakeries in New England—and one of the best, as far as I’m concerned. It’s one of those old-fashioned bakeries that’s managed to remain blissfully old-fashioned, despite changing hands a couple of times over the years.
The place is a feast for the eyes and the senses. The gleaming pastry cases. The machine that wraps boxes in string. The racks of soft rolls, breads, and colorful cookies. The pies, jelly rolls, and custom-decorated cakes. The handmade pastries, eclairs, and cannolis. The fresh doughnuts and the cupcakes with creamy frosting, piled high.
I’m getting hungry just thinking about it.
I remember clearly when I first heard about Lyndell’s. It was years ago, shortly after The Angry Chef and I first started dating. His birthday was coming up, and I asked him—baker that I am—what kind of cake I might make.
His response? “Please don’t be offended, dear Mouse, but I’d like a cake from Lyndell’s.”
He was so quick and decisive with this that I almost didn’t even have time to be shocked. A bakery cake? As in, a cake from a bakery? When I’m offering to make you one? Really?
He went on to tell me how some of his fondest birthdays involved cakes from Lyndell’s, ever since he was an Angry Young Chef. He described the many different types of cupcakes. He went on about the different, creamy frosting and cake combinations in detail.
Okay, I conceded. I know how vivid and touching food memories can be. I have at least a handful of those, myself. Lyndell’s cake it would be.
Let me tell you: The cake didn’t disappoint. And neither will anything else they sell. I practically guarantee it.
Lyndell’s Bakery: A Photo Tour
Here’s a photo tour of their shop and some of their goodies. If you’re ever in the area, you should definitely stop in for a cupcake—or three.
Lyndell’s is located in Somerville’s quirky Ball Square, which is also home to Kelly’s Diner, a two-piece silver dining car, Soundbites restaurant, and Stinky’s Kittens and Doggies, Too pet groomers. Sometime soon, I’ll do a more complete foodie photo tour of our neck of the woods.
You can’t miss their prominent sign when you drive down Broadway.
Their windows are lined with displays of cakes.
They make a lot of whimsical movie- and character-based cakes. Here are some you might see if you press your nose up against the glass.
They also make more traditional cakes.
And of course, this wouldn’t be Boston without a Red Sox cake.
A Photo Tour of Lyndell’s Bakery: But the real magic happens when you go inside
The shop itself is pretty big, and is lined on three sides with bakery cases. Behind the counter, rows of shelves are loaded with an enticing array of cookies, breads, and pies.
Big bakers racks across part of the front window hold boxes of cookies and coffee cakes. They also have a few small, convenient displays of birthday candles and cards so you can pick up any last-minute thing you may have forgotten.
I always notice the doughnuts first. There are sugar-coated jelly, Boston-creme, powdered-sugar-coated jelly, and glazed.
They also have a bunch of different fruit danish and pastries.
A smaller case holds a handful of cakes, including this one, studded with dark and light chocolate chips.
If you need a cake in a hurry, this one is already packed and ready to travel.
The front case also had this gorgeous coconut-covered cake.
Lyndell’s is one of the only places I can readily think of where you can still get an old-timey jelly roll, dusted in powdered sugar.
And some mouthwatering, chocolate-covered cookies.
A case on the opposite side of the shop holds a handful of Italian and other specialties, including these chocolate-dipped cannolis and traditional cannolis dusted with powdered sugar.
There are miniature tarts and cakes.
They also sell full-sized and miniature eclairs.
And then there are the cupcakes. I almost never leave without at least 6. If The Angry Chef is with me, we’re lucky if 2 make it into the house.
We went right before Halloween, so they still had some seasonal, spooky goodies in the case.
They also sell these black-and-white beauties.
And yummy-looking turnovers.
The front windows are lined with racks that are stacked with fresh coffee cakes, tea breads, soft rolls, and containers of cookies.
A Photo Tour of Lyndell’s Bakery: So what did we walk out with?
This trip yielded fairly conservative booty: 4 cupcakes, 2 mini eclairs, and a half a dozen toffee-chip cookies.
These cookies are buttery and crisp, with just a little bit of a crunch from pieces of toffee.
2 mini eclairs and 4 chocolate cupcakes.
Among other things, Lyndell’s is famous in the area for their rich, creamy frosting.
For more information on Lyndell’s, check out Boston.com’s article and fabulous slideshow which ran late last year, when the bakery celebrated its 120th anniversary. You can also see what the Yelpers are saying, and keep an eye on Lyndell’s website, scheduled to go live early in 2009.
Go have a nibble
Somerville, MA 02144